The evening twilight finds our two neighboring planets, the brilliant Venus and the fading Mars lowering a bit more each night. Tonight you find Venus before 9 o’clock, about one quarter of the way up. Mars joins by 9:30, to the upper left of Venus, while farther to the upper left, the star Regulus marks the front shoulder of Leo, the Lion.

Very late this evening, the waning Gibbous Moon climbs into the east-southeast, but not alone. Just a few minutes after the Moon near 1 o’clock, the ringed planet Saturn returns to the evening skies, well to the left of the Moon. By midnight tomorrow night, a slightly smaller Moon appears below Saturn.

Today finds the Earth at aphelion – its greatest distance from the Sun – at 94,506,364 miles. Yes, July is the hottest month of the year on average, but it is our tilted axis, angled toward the Sun in summer, and not our distance, that gives us longer days and more direct sunlight, increasing the temperatures.